Jen Fly – Kildaragh Farm
All wildlife seems to be hibernating and as per usual, the Red-lipped Heralds are snugly coiled in the wood pile. We noticed 2 Common Reedbuck on our property – an unusual sighting these days! Good to see. They ran off onto Iain Sinclair’s farm.
Interesting birds have been seen in the garden: Green Wood Hoopoe, Wryneck, Oriole, Golden Tailed Woodpecker, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Malachite and Amethyst Sunbirds. A small flock of about 20 Helmeted Guineafowl scratch round in our pastures with numerous young. With the drought, it has been a good breeding season for them. We regularly see Black-winged Lapwings flying over on their food seeking missions.
In the veld we have noticed Natal Spurfowl, Cape Longclaw, and have heard the Common Quail with their gentle call.
An old Aloe arborescens, the Krantz aloe, that grows on one of our hill slopes is particularly beautiful this year. If you are frustrated with your garden in this season of drought, here’s what to plant!
Andrew Pridgeon – Copperleigh Farm
Spotted a Secretarybird whilst driving past Selsley farm. We also spotted one on Knowhere farm earlier in the month whilst moving some cattle.
Wendy de Waal – Honeywood Cottage
Pat McKrill, Snake Country: “I’d go with your i.d. Ashley – Spotted Skaapsteker – although it’s not that clear. There’s a slim possibility of it being a Short-snouted Sand snake (grass snake, whip snake – I wish they’d make their minds up!) but we’d need a better pic. Still some activity on the warmer days. Yay.”
Pat & Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm, Lidgetton
A very quiet month. At the beginning of June we saw the Black Sparrowhawks hunting and eating pigeons every couple of days. We saw the female at the old familiar nest in the gum trees. She was either adding more material to the nest or feeding young we thought. Well that’s the last we have seen of them, so no idea what happened. With the dry dam we have seen no waterbirds – the crane have disappeared. Only hear the Jackal occasionally.
We see the secretary bird and gymnogene now and then.
The odd Common (Grey) Duiker seen during the day. We saw a very small Reedbuck on one of our walks. When I drove around the farm today I saw 4 Common Reedbuck sitting in the pine trees away from the wind. Two were young females and 2 were young rams.
There are still a number of sunbirds about, feeding off the aloes and proteas.
In the past few weeks about a dozen Weavers arrive at about 9am and descend upon the aloes in front of the house.
They have been destructive in the defoliation of the aloes – they pull off a petal,
place it beneath a foot, and suck out the nectar and then drop them on the ground.
They are also feeding off the tecomas,
bottle brushes and pig ears.
I think they are the non-breeding Masked Weavers but am sure someone will be able to identify them for me? So we only see the sunbirds very briefly as they get chased away by the weavers which is rather sad.
Another surprise is that the Sparrows are collecting feathers and going into their nest under the eaves of the house.
Surely they are not thinking of breeding now? Perhaps they are just making it warmer!
Southern Boubou enjoying the sun – seldom seen on the lawn – they prefer to be hidden among the shrubs.
Well that’s all there is to report this month. It would be wonderful to get some rain or snow soon.
Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin Farm
While I hear Spotted Eagle Owls and Wood Owls at night, I never come across the Barn Owls that moved into the owl box in the shed earlier this year. I do hope they have not eaten a poisoned rat. As last month, Jackal calls are still very scarce. Where are they? Very early one morning I met a big Porcupine while out walking and have come across lots of quills on various paths. I wonder, do they shed them more during Winter?
I found a Samango monkey skin and skeleton in the grassland,
and this dead Scrubhare beside the road.
Not a lot in flower, but these little yellow daisies are so cheerful! The hairy, maroon coloured stems should have made it easy to identify, but I can’t find it.
An unusually coloured Leonotis leonarus blooms beside the D707.
Grassland streams have stopped trickling altogether. Planted aloes are looking splendid.
David Schneiderman – Carlisle Farm
We went out on our farm Carlisle yesterday and we found 2 Waterbuck and 2 Reedbuck.
Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm
The water is still receding in Mavela Dam. The ducks, geese and other wildlife are walking through the mud and making little trails.
A very cold frog I found in one of the water troughs – aren’t they supposed to be hibernating?!
Whilst doing our mandatory firebreaks with the neighbours, I quickly snapped a few pics of the aloes in the area
Some burnt aloes, I’m sure by next year they will be looking beautiful once again.
Fires in the Dargle with Inhlosane watching from a distance
We had a very cold weekend this past week, with bits of snow and sleet falling. Sunday morning we woke up to lots of ice on the edges of the dam, and beautiful little icicles forming and coming up through the mud.